Colorado's farm industry posted a major hike in exports in the first half of 2013, increasing income from foreign sales by $14.5 million, reports the Colorado Department of Agriculture.
That boosted overall farm export income to $725.6 million, a 20% increase in the last two years.
Sales to Canada helped hit the new level with $23 million in Colorado farm products heading north of the border. Hong Kong was also a major customer at $18 million, all which helped offset a Russian import cutback of Colorado farm goods of $27 million.
The state's farm export boom was led by seven of the top 10 crops of Colorado. While Canada's increase in purchasing covered a wide spectrum of commodities, Hong Kong's increase was nearly all in red meats. Brazil became one of the top 10 foreign markets for Colorado ag, increasing their purchase of the state's goods from $330,000 to more than $9 million, mostly in wheat sales.
In all Colorado exports to more than 100 nations, including new markets in Tunisia, Guyana, St. Lucia, St. Vincent/Grenadines, Anguilla and Aruba.
"Colorado's broad market reach is critical for our industry," says Colorado Commissioner of Agriculture John Salazar. "By increasing our global markets, Colorado can continue to increase sales well into the future."
Not all the export news is good for Colorado farmers, including the fact that Russia imports fell by $27 million due to the continued closure of the market to Colorado and U.S. red meats. Mexico's weaken economy also led to a decline in purchases from the Rocky Mountain State, adding a decrease of $26 million to the overall state farm export scene.
But Mexican imports of U.S. beef are rising, reversing a trend of the first five months of the year, according to the U.S. Meat Export Federation based in Denver.